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Campos firm buys Del Monte US for $1.7 B

Neil Jerome C. Morales (The Philippine Star) - October 12, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Del Monte Pacific Ltd. (DMPL), majority owned by the NutriAsia Group of Campos family, is buying the consumer food business of US-based Del Monte Foods (DMF) for nearly $1.7 billion.

The move will give DMPL access to the profitable US and South American markets while boosting its net sales by around $1.8 billion, the company said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange.

The Singapore and Philippine-listed DMPL said it entered into a definitive agreement for subsidiary Del Monte Foods Consumer Products Inc. to acquire privately-owned DMF for $1.675 billion.

“This landmark transaction offers DMPL greater access to a well-established, attractive and profitable branded consumer food business in the world’s biggest market,” said DMPL chairman Rolando Gapud.

“Prior to this acquisition, the US was one of few key markets where our company did not have a direct presence nor have its own brands,” Gapud said.

Shares of DMPL in the local bourse surged to as much as P39.50 yesterday before closing 11.11 percent higher at P30 apiece from P27 on Thursday.

DMF owns the Del Monte brand rights for processed food products in the US and South America. Its consumer business has a strong portfolio of leading brands, with seasoned employees, healthy cash flows and $1.8 billion in sales in the fiscal year that ended last April.

DMF owns the iconic Del Monte brand, along with Contadina, S&W and College Inn brands. The company claims to  be number one in major canned fruit and vegetable categories in th US and top two in canned tomato and broth categories.

“This leading branded market position in the canned fruit and vegetable segments provides DMPL with significant scale and reach and, the company believes, an opportunity to unlock meaningful potential synergies,” the firm said.

Under the agreement, DMPL will buy the brands and certain assets and liabilities of DMF, including equity interests in certain South American subsidiaries.

DMPL said it will finance the acquisition through a combination of $745 million of equity in the new acquisition subsidiary as well as $390 million in long-term debt financing from BDO Capital and Investment Corp. and Bank of the Philippine Islands.

“As part of the equity financing, the company plans to issue common and preferred shares in the market,” DMPL said, adding that the acquisition will be finalized not later than the first quarter next year.

Moving forward, DMPL plans to launch new product offerings to the US catering to the growing Hispanic and AsianAmerican markets.

“The company expects to generate significant value creation opportunities in the US market through the expansion of DMF’s current product offering to include beverage and culinary products,” Gapud said. 

DMF’s consumer food business is also an attractive platform to offer certain products appealing to the large Hispanic and Asian American population in the US, he added.

DMPL’s 23,000-hectare plantation in Mindanao is the world’s largest fully integrated pineapple operation with a 750,000-metric ton processing capacity. It was set up in 1926 by the US government because of the widespread pineapple disease in Hawaii.

DMPL produces, markets and distributes food, beverages and related products in the Asia-Pacific region and the Indian subcontinent, and has supply deals with Del Monte Pacific trademark owners and licensees around the world.

In the first half, DMPL’s sales gained 14 percent to $208.4 million while net income inched up two percent to $10.6 million.

DMPL’s principal shareholder NutriAsia leads the Philippine market for condiments (Datu Puti and UFC), specialty sauces (Jufran and Mang Tomas) and cooking oil (Golden Fiesta).

BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS CAPITAL AND INVESTMENT CORP DATU PUTI DEL MONTE DEL MONTE FOODS DEL MONTE FOODS CONSUMER PRODUCTS INC DEL MONTE PACIFIC DEL MONTE PACIFIC LTD DMPL SOUTH AMERICAN
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